Tax help for seniors available in Durango

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For the past several years, the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) group out of Durango has come to the Pagosa Springs Senior Center offering free income tax preparation for seniors. This year, due to lack of adequate volunteers from Tax Help Colorado out of Denver, the Durango VITA tax volunteers will not be able to assist senior taxpayers in Pagosa Springs.

Seniors can, however, go to Durango for help with their taxes. The schedule is as follows: Seniors only, Mondays, beginning Feb. 6 (you may call for an appointment in January, 382-6445). All ages, Saturdays beginning Feb. 4 (you may call for an appointment in January, 335-9776).

The qualifying income level for free assistance is $54,000.

Health and wellness

The Pagosa Springs Senior Center has initiated a new pilot program expanding health and wellness services to Archuleta County seniors. The program includes wellness, blood pressure monitoring or allows individual area seniors to discuss two subjects of their choice. There is no charge for Medicare enrollees.

Participant IDs include Medicare card, photo ID and, if necessary, any supplemental insurances. No Medicaid is accepted at this time. Participants are encouraged to bring a list of their current medications.

Clinical assessment will be provided by Tabitha Zappone, FNP-C, of Alpine Medical and Specialty Practices.

Zappone has been a nurse practitioner for six years and a longtime resident of Pagosa Springs. She understands the difficulties of obtaining health care in a rural area and how these obstacles can be greater for seniors. The goal of the outreach clinic is to provide care to those who are not able to travel.

The next wellness event will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 21.

Computer center

The Senior Center provides computer access to seniors who are members of the Discount Club.

Computer stations are available by the hour. If no one has signed up for the next hour, seniors may continue to use the computer for an additional hour(s). Computer and Internet access is available during business hours when staff is in attendance and classes are not in session.

Volunteer help available at computer center

A volunteer will be at the computer center on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help with your computer issues. Bring your computer or use one of ours.

Medical alert system

Medical alert monitoring systems are available for seniors. We can help you get set up with a system and assist with the monthly service charges or if you already have a system in place, we can help supplement the monthly service fees. Please call 264-2167 for more information or to sign up.

Medicare Mondays

Are you turning 65? Do you need some help with Medicare? The San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging has openings every Monday at the Senior Center to help you with your Medicare enrollment questions.

Here are some quick tips: If you are collecting Social Security, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare parts A and B. We can help you pick a Part D Prescription Drug Plan. If you don’t enroll in a Part D plan, you could face penalties. If you are new to Medicare, you have an eight-month Special Enrollment Period to sign up for parts A, B and D around your 65th birthday. Medicare starts after your employment ends or the group health insurance plan based on your current employment ends, whichever happens first. You do not pay late penalties if you enroll within the eight-month Special Enrollment Period. COBRA and retiree health plans are not considered coverage based on current employment.

Important dates: General enrollment runs from Jan. 1 through March 31 each year and coverage starts July 1. Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 is open (or annual) enrollment for switching plans for Part D and a Medicare Cost Plan; coverage starts Jan. 1.

If you would like to talk to a Medicare counselor, please contact the Area Agency on Aging to make an appointment. Please call 264-0501, ext. 2. We will put you in touch with one of our talented and experienced Medicare counselors.

Memberships

Senior Discount Club memberships are offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Menu

Everyone is welcome to join us for lunch. If you are a senior (60 years and older), for only a $4 suggested donation, you are eligible for a hot meal, drink and a salad prepared by our kitchen staff.

The guest fee for those 59 and under is $10 and children 10 years and under can eat for $5 each. Access to the salad bar is only $6 for those under 60.

Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 2 — Beef cheeseburger, cucumber salad, sweet potato fries, salad bar and brownie.

Friday, Feb. 3 — Salmon patty, ginger butternut squash, steamed asparagus with lemon, focaccia bread and salad bar.

Monday, Feb. 6 — Chicken a la king, brown rice pilaf, glazed carrots, roasted broccoli and salad bar.

Tuesday, Feb. 7 — Beef and vegetable kabobs, green beans with almonds, yellow squash medley, salad bar and brownie.

Wednesday, Feb. 8 — Beef meatloaf, mashed red potatoes, gravy, broccoli with red peppers, whole wheat roll and salad bar.

Thursday, Feb. 9 — Chicken tostadas, spinach with tomato, Mexicali corn, salad bar and pineapple/orange cake.

Reservations and cancellations are required. You can make a reservation at 264-2167 by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine in the Community Cafe at the Senior Center.

For your convenience, you can make your reservations in advance or have a standing reservation on days you know you will always attend. Please cancel if you cannot attend on your standing reservation days.